Page 4499 - Week 12 - Thursday, 26 October 2017

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According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 74.5 per cent of all Australians have recognised how absolutely important this decision will be and have submitted their survey forms in the post already. But 25 per cent have not. If you know someone who still has their form in their bag and has not yet submitted it, or if it is on the fridge or the kitchen bench ready to post, the time runs out tomorrow. Submit your survey. Visualise your local post box and make a plan to go down there and post it.

Madam Deputy Speaker, 18- to 34-year-olds are the strongest supporters of marriage equality, but we know that 40 per cent of them have not voted. So this is my call out is to young people in Canberra: this is your last chance to make once in a lifetime generational change. Submit your ballot and contribute to a fairer Australia, a place where all Australians can share in the same dignity and status under law as everyone else.

We knew that this postal survey was going to be divisive and hurtful, and it has been. We knew that the no campaign would throw out as many red herrings as they could, and they have. They have talked about everything else but marriage. But they did not really have a rational argument against marriage equality in the first place.

The harmful effects of this debate have been especially felt on the LGBTIQ community. This was affirmed in mid-September when it was reported that there has been a 20 per cent spike in the number of people accessing LGBTI support services since the postal survey began.

As the Chief Minister has previously stated, it is an appalling concept for people to have their relationship open to debate or judgement, but it is something that we must participate in to ensure that we see equality in the ACT and across Australia. We owe these people. They have had their lives, their relationships and their families come under attack. We need to participate—to submit our surveys; to vote yes—and make sure that our relatives, our friends and co-workers vote yes as well.

We must all remain positive that equality will finally come after these past few weeks of the survey. If we win, we must take a moment to celebrate as well. Attention will then turn to the Federal Parliament to get these laws through. Unfortunately the red herrings that the no campaign has been peddling have already turned to the future marriage legislation. We already have a perfectly good bill in the federal parliament that should be supported immediately. We cannot allow the Tony Abbotts of the world—who would not ever vote for marriage equality regardless of the content of any legislation—to entrench discrimination in a bill.

The losers do not get to dictate terms. They outsourced that responsibility when they initiated this wasteful and divisive survey in the first place. I also believe that if we want to send a message to Tony Abbott, all of us must make sure that we submit our survey forms tomorrow.

Children’s Week

MS STEPHEN-SMITH (Kurrajong—Minister for Community Services and Social Inclusion, Minister for Disability, Children and Youth, Minister for Aboriginal and

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